If the NBA playoffs started today, the Dallas Mavericks would not even be in the Western Conference play-in tournament. Thus, they need every win possible but superstar Luka Doncic will sit out Monday’s game at Indiana due to suspension.
NBA News: Mavericks Star Luka Doncic Facing Suspension Monday vs. Pacers
When: Monday, March 27, at 7:00 pm ET
Where: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
TV / Streaming: NBA TV, Bally SW & IN
The Mavericks lost at the terrible Charlotte Hornets on Sunday, 110-104, and Doncic was called for his 16th technical foul of the season with 7:51 remaining in the third quarter for arguing a no-call after missing a shot on a drive to the basket. Unless the league office rescinds the technical, Doncic will serve the suspension Monday when the Mavs visit the Pacers.
Players automatically get a one-game suspension after 16 technical fouls each season, and for every two technicals thereafter. Crew chief Kevin Scott said in a pool report after the game that Doncic used “a profanity directed at the officials in protest to a no-call that was correctly judged in postgame video review.” Doncic had 40 points with 12 rebounds and eight assists in the loss and is averaging 32.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and 8.2 assists on the season.
Technical foul counts restart in the playoffs, when the league will levy a one-game suspension after seven. Doncic reached 15 technical fouls in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 regular seasons. He drew his 16th last year in the second-to-last game before the playoffs, but the NBA rescinded it and he did not serve a suspension.
Dallas is 7-13 since it acquired Kyrie Irving in a blockbuster from the Nets, and they’re 6-9 when Irving actually plays, which includes a woeful 3-8 record when both Irving and Doncic are in the starting lineup. Irving had just 18 points against the Hornets. A 3-of-18 shooting start from the field and a 19-point first-half deficit ultimately proved too much for Dallas to overcome.
The Mavericks have not been sharp defensively all season, and it hasn’t gotten any better since the trade last month for Irving. He said it’s been an adjustment for him, as well as his new teammates, who had to get used to his style as opposed to that of Dorian Finney-Smith and Spencer Dinwiddie.
“I think that was the biggest adjustment coming here for me was going from primarily a switching team (with Brooklyn) where we kept everything above the perimeter . . . and coming here, we’re a very rotation-based team and that just takes some time to get used to – the drives, the close-outs and where everybody is going to be on the extra plays we make,” Irving said.
Indiana is outside the East play-in tournament as things stand and comes off back-to-back blowout losses but both were on the road. All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton (right ankle sprain injury management) is questionable for Monday’s game. Haliburton was also listed as questionable ahead of Saturday’s loss to the Hawks, a game he was ultimately cleared to play in. Haliburton leads the NBA in assists this season with 10.3 per game and ranks second in points/assists double-doubles (31).
Starting big man Myles Turner (back) is questionable for Monday. Turner sat out the second leg of a back-to-back Saturday due to the back issue. He’s averaging career highs this season with 17.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game and currently ranks third in the NBA with 2.3 blocks per game.
Indiana has played 44 clutch games this season, games defined with the team leading or trailing by five or fewer points within five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Their 44 clutch games played is the fourth-highest total in the NBA this season, and their 23 wins is the eighth-most in the league.
The Pacers won the first meeting 124-122 in Dallas on Feb. 28. Doncic had 39 points and nine rebounds on his 24th birthday. Haliburton scored 32 points, and Turner added 24 for the winning side. The teams have split each of the last four season series. The road team has now taken five of the last seven showdowns. Pacers Coach Rick Carlisle served as the head coach of Dallas for 13 seasons (2008-09 to 2020-21), where he guided the Mavericks to the playoffs nine times, including the franchise’s first NBA title in 2011.
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